What are my rights/responsibilities regarding liability for a rental car?

I rented a car using my credit card car insurance. The car had a blowout that damaged the rear wheel well. The car rental company is wanting me to pay $3,250 through my credit card account. My credit card company is going to put the $3,250 on my account because they have insufficient information to decide the case. The rental car company has refused to furnish any information other than a 19 page invoice. Can the credit card company make me pay this amount and can they put a lien on my home in if I don’t pay?

Asked on September 3, 2017 under Accident Law, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Normally, you are only liable for damage to a car if you were at fault (e.g. driving carelessly) in causing it in some way; ordinarily, therefore, you would not be liable for a blow-out, unless you careless drove over road debris, etc. you should have been able to avoid. But this can be changed by contract: review the rental agreement to see if you agreed to be liable, or responsible, for damage and charges like this. An agreement to be responsible for damages or charges is legal and enforceable.
If you were at fault or did agree in the rental agreement to pay this, you have to; otherwise, you should not. If not, if the credit card company charges you for it, sue them seeking a court order that you are not responsible for the charge; in the lawsuit, name the rental car company, too, and let the court decide who is responsible for the amount.


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